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From Sea to Sky | An Arctic Adventure

16 May 2022

By Tommy Zyw

At the end of April, when many begin to enjoy the spring flowers and warmer weather, I travelled north in search of winter. The destination was the Lofoten Islands in Norway.

Heading up

Located north of the Arctic Circle, the Lofoten Islands are a mountainous archipelago stretching 160km into the Norwegian Sea. The landscape is truly spectacular, with steep, snowy slopes rising directly out of the dark water of the fjords.

Heading down

We had traveled to Lofoten for backcountry snowboarding. With no lift access, we ascended each mountain using our splitboards. A splitboard is essentially a normal snowboard that splits into two halves. These halves become skis for traveling uphill or ‘touring’, allowing you to explore further and deeper into the backcountry.

A short weather window of sunshine. Being so coastal, the weather can change in a heartbeat

The landscape is otherworldy. Think Chamonix meets St Kilda. This was our playground for the week.

Approaching Vargan Summit

The days were long, as you could be touring for many hours for a ride down that might last minutes. Accompanied by my two brothers Davy and Danny, this was the first time I had snowboarded since breaking my back in December. Our guide Bas Elhorst from Black Sheep Snowboarding was masterful and kept us safe and happy in some hostile environments.

Hanging out with the locals. Stockfish is unsalted fish dried by cold air and wind on wooden racks

The Lofoten can be enjoyed all year round. In the Summer months, the sun does not set and the islands welcome thousands of visitors to enjoy the landscape and wildlife. Whale watching is popular as Orcas and Humpbacks feast on the millions of Herring that spawn around the islands every year. Whilst I didn’t see any whales, I was delighted to see moose, reindeer, and sea eagles. James Morrison visited the Arctic Circle several times during the 1990s. His paintings, completed in front of the subject, capture the desolate beauty and fragility of the Arctic landscape. The Arctic is suffering the cost of global warming more than anywhere else on the planet, warming three times as fast as the global average.

Fjord Focus

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